On 30 January 2023, the AER published the final Better Bills Guideline (Version 2). The Guideline is accompanied by the Notice of Final Instrument, which explains the Guideline.
Update - Illustrative example bills
On publication of the Guideline, the AER committed to working with industry to promote and support compliance with the Guideline. This included providing educative materials, such as an illustrative example bill.
In September 2022, the AER released two example bills and accompanying explanatory information illustrating the requirements of the guideline. These materials drew on new consumer testing by the Behavioural Research Team (BIT), which has also been published.
During May–June 2022, BIT undertook rigorous two-phase consumer testing of multiple bill prototypes with 2,030 customers, including culturally and linguistically diverse consumers, consumers who are small business customers, and consumers who prefer not to engage digitally with their energy retailer. The bill prototypes were designed to prioritise comprehension and comply with the new billing requirements in the Better Bills Guideline. The research report is published below, along with an accompanying technical appendix.
The example bills were refined based on the findings of this research. They demonstrate the application of the design principles for bills in paginated and unpaginated formats. The accompanying explanatory information illustrates how the example bills have used the research findings and design principles to prioritise comprehension of billing information.
We envisage that these materials will assist retailers in understanding the requirements of the Guideline.
In February 2023, the AER released a factsheet setting out key obligations under the Guideline. This factsheet is aimed at energy retailers, but may also be helpful for other stakeholders.
Update - Energy bill relief message
Following a consultation process, the AER made the decision under section 37 of the Better Bills Guideline to approve a statement about the bill relief rebates as 'Tier 1' information. A letter was sent to retailers advising them on the final message on 6 July 2023.
10 August 2023
On 10 August 2023, after receiving further information from stakeholders, the AER made the decision under section 37 of the Better Bills Guideline to:
- Revoke the AER's 6 July 2023 decision that required retailers to include a single generic message on Bills as 'Tier 1' information
- Approve new statements about the bill relief rebates as 'Tier 1' information, depending on whether the customer lives in a State, the ACT, or is a customer of ActewAGL.
A letter was sent to retailers advising them on the decision and new messages on 10 August 2023.
Update - AER expectations - Embedded network customers
On 26 July 2023, the AER sent a letter to authorised retailers setting out the AER's expectations in relation to the application of the Guideline to embedded network customers.
In response to authorised retailer queries, the AER confirmed that the Guideline applies to all small customers of authorised retailers who are in an embedded network. This is regardless of whether these small customers are on-market or off-market.
This means that authorised retailers need to produce Guideline compliant bills for all their small customers in embedded networks.